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Compassion key to pro-life message

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Find common ground with abortion supporters, says pro-life missionary
By Josh Tng

Photo caption: Daniel Abraham speaks next to Irene De Souza during De Souza's pro-life presentation at Our Lady of Fatima, March 31. De Souza spoke on her experience as a pro-life missionary, and how to spread the message of life for the preborn. (Josh Tng / The B.C. Catholic)
From ending slavery to fighting segregation, the success of every great social reform movement came come from exposing injustice, says Irene De Souza, and the same must apply to abortion.
De Souza is a pro-life missionary with the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform and told an audience at Our Lady of Fatima Church and said the roughly 300 children who die each day in Canada from abortion need someone to speak form them.
“When we look at successful social reform movements of our past, such as the abolition of the slave trade in Great Britain or the fight against segregation, we know that to end the injustice, we must expose the injustice,” said De Souza.
“However, where the difference lies is that the victims of this injustice cannot speak for themselves.”
De Souza’s talk to about 50 people was aimed at educating them on the best way to deliver the pro-life message. “We as pro-lifers are ambassadors for the preborn, speaking on their behalf,” she said.
“It is imperative that all pro-lifers are equipped with the knowledge of how to articulate the pro-life message in the most effective way because their lives are on the line.”
She reviewed several pro-life strategies, some of which work better than others. Telling abortion supporters that “abortion kills children, or abortion hurts women, is not going to work,” said De Souza. “Are those things true? Yes! Are they going to change hearts and minds? Probably not.”
Instead, she recommended appealing through common ground. “In the mind of a pro-abortion individual, they don’t see the pregnant mother as two human beings. They’re seeing one woman in difficult circumstances. With this mindset, they believe we need to determine the morality of abortion on a case-to-case basis.”
Difficult circumstances for a woman facing an unwanted pregnancy can include health complications, financial insecurity, or sexual assault. “We look at these circumstances as pro-lifers, and we can agree that these circumstances are very tough. These are not easy things to go through,” De Souza said, adding patience is important since many abortion supporters believe they are truly defending women’s rights.
She emphasized the importance of finding common ground with individuals questioning pro-life beliefs. “To be an effective pro-lifer, we have to show people the truth, not tell them the truth.”
She spoke of a time she had argued against abortion with a coworker, who noted it was the first time she had encountered someone with the ability to rationalize with her.
“‘I’m still not convinced completely,’ she told me,” De Souza said. “’But at least you can argue!’ The most important steps to communicating with pro-abortion individuals is common ground, telling a relatable analogy or story, and to always ask questions.”
The event, which was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, was aimed at educating attendees on making a difference in Canada, said Daniel Abraham, a Knight and organizer.
“It’s important to inspire more urgency in the community to get abortion eradicated from Canada,” he said.
“We want our country to value life, and the lives of the unborn. We want to know what to do when asked to defend our values.”

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